November can be a daunting month. Largely free of exams and punctuated by a sorely-needed Thanksgiving break, the month seems relaxing and refreshing. But as seasoned Hoyas know, the halcyon weeks whiz by, Thanksgiving dinner wraps up and students are packed on Lau 3 reviewing slides for that dreaded “Econometrics” final. As a result, it is easy for November to become a month-long bout of pre-emptive stress. Therefore, as the fall semester comes to an end, take advantage of the resources and opportunities in place to support student self-care and spiritual fulfillment.
Mental health has become a significant rallying point for students. Collaborative efforts on the part of the administration, student groups and the Georgetown Undergraduate Student Association have resulted in important initiatives to improve Counseling and Psychiatric Services and other resources and foster dialogues. Mental health and well-being encompass far more than panel discussions and counseling, though. Students should aim to take courses that aim to address student well-being at a cultural level. An example of this would be “Flourishing in College and Community,” which emphasizes countering the mental, physical and spiritual stress students tend to experience at Georgetown. While Georgetown can be competitive and stressful, the university is replete with resources for students to engage in different forms of self-care and avoid burnout before finals.
Some of the most common options for students include retreats sponsored by Campus Ministry, with opportunities for religious and non-denominational students alike. ESCAPE, a popular one-night retreat for freshmen and transfer students, offers a chance to reflect and meet new people at a beautiful retreat center in the Shenandoah Valley. Students from multiple faith backgrounds can take advantage of Agape, reFRESHMENt, Crossroads, Shabbaton and the Hindu Student Association retreat. A hike in the bucolic Shenandoah Valley with Outdoor Education, a daytrip to Gettysburg or a simple, quiet walk around Theodore Roosevelt Island across Key Bridge are only some of many ways to break free from the routine stress of campus life.
Take a walk in the woods like Bill Bryson, or channel your inner Jonathan Waterman. Georgetown’s Jesuit identity calls for students to be “contemplatives in action” — to reflect on our education in a manner that takes into account both our lives and our world.
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